Saturday, May 16, 2009

remember mimeograph?

John Grossbohlin sent this copy of an old mimeograph from his 7th grade shop class. Anyone remember those days? It is amazing that parents would save such things, and now with the "paperless" office, schools and homes are swamped with the clutter of paper products. John plans to make some trays with his sons in this same design, even though with their experience, this project may be almost too easy for them.

On the radio program Car Talk this morning, Tom and Ray talked about how parents try to eliminate the risk of failure from their children's lives and create even bigger problems... a complete lack of confidence. Way to go Tom and Ray! It raises the question, would we like schools where students and teachers actually learn, where children's interests and passion for learning are aroused? We will have to take a few chances for that to happen and one risk that I will propose is woodworking for all kids, pre-school through 12th grades.


patrickmurfin said...

That's not a Mimeograph--a copying machine invented by Thomas Edison. The purple/blue ink gives it away as a Ditto, a "spirit" duplicator for short runs that was beloved of schools and church bulletins. The "spirit" referred to the alcohol based solvents that were the "ink" in the process. What made Dittos so memorable to those of us of a certain age was their smell. The student in the front of a row who was handed a stack of fresh dittos to "pass back" could bury his or her nose in the still damp sheets and inhale deeply. Result: strong sensory memory and multiple damaged brain cells from this Stone Age "huffing."

Doug Stowe said...

Right you are Patrick. This article from Wikipedia explains it...

I happen to be old enough, too, to remember the smell.

John Grossbohlin said...

Interesting... I distinctly recall those duplicates being referred to as "mimeograph copies." I also recall the smell and the mess... I suspect this is a naming error that is similar to those following other technological changes. When was the last time you actually "dialed" a phone?

Now that I think about it, the school lunch menus for the district were duplicated on a mimeograph machine in the basement of my elementary school--black print. We used to watch the guy who worked the machine through the windows while we were on the play ground. That was magic in those days!

I also recall that when I first started teaching at the college ditto machines were still in use. This as they were far less expensive to use than photocopiers.

Going in the other direction, my son Jesse has been enamored with my old Olympia manual office typewriter. I pulled it out of storage as part of my "getting rid of stuff" campaign and he's been playing with it... though complaining that it is "out of ink." I cannot bring myself to actually throw it out but it is useless to me and takes up space. I put it on Freecycle and Craig's List and a woman is supposed to pick it up for her young son to use as part of a physical therapy program... He'll have strong hands like Popeye after using that thing!